11
Aug
14

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Have you ever heard someone say that about some machine, toy, phone, “doodad” or gizmo? You know…the title of this piece. It’s something I haven’t heard myself in a while. But, that’s just because I am no longer a kid surrounded by elderly folks. Those who said it to me have passed on, already. But, the message still rings true now and then.

There was a time not too long ago when adults of the ’60s looked at the toys and technology of the ’80s–particularly television sets–and said, “They sure don’t make them like they used to.” This was shortly after Americans took a break from bitching about the “China-men” making inferior products. But, even today, if you listen to some of these millionaire business types, where would they be if they didn’t have their production lines overseas? Not too long ago, there was a big stink being raised about lead paint on toys. Lead paint; something I haven’t heard about since childhood when there was considerable concern about kids eating paint chips from older houses. [But, if you get me started on lead paint and the Chinese labor force working for the U.S.A., we’ll be here all week.]

The point I am slowly trying to make is…

If you look at modern technology–everything from lawn equipment to household appliances to your “newfangled” flat TVs and razor-thin-ready-to-snap-at-any-moment computers–you don’t see many–if any–lifetime warranties. You’re lucky if you get a five-year warranty. What amazes me is how some manufacturers will avoid a fuss and let you have a replacement (sometimes at an additional expense even if it’s considerably smaller).

Back when, replacements didn’t come so easily. You didn’t trade in a $100+ phone made from nuclear waste that does everything from flash a light under your bed to manage your banking/spending every two years. You bought a phone that plugged into the wall and was glad it was still working when the power went out. Now, you drop your “phone” (and I use the term lightly) in a puddle or on the sidewalk (because you have to have it with you at all times), and you’re lucky if you aren’t forking over another $200+ for a replacement.

[You see how the price shot up in just a few years? There was a time when you expected a fairly standard price for a phone. The technology didn’t change in two years, and what you had worked just fine if you didn’t take it outside and throw/drop it everywhere, you klutzes. AND, your hand didn’t vibrate or glow in the dark after holding your phone for a few hours. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating about the hand glowing in the dark.]

There was a time when you bought something with little fear of it not working in as many as ten years or more. You trusted a name that built a reputation for itself. You trusted the materials with which the item was made.

There was a time not so long ago when cash was so scarce, they called it the Great Depression, and countless lives were in financial jeopardy. Back then, they didn’t have “smart phone plans” to worry about. They didn’t even have video entertainment. How in the world did they live?!…you kids might ask. Well, I am fairly sure there was probably the same business scheming going on then as it is today. It just came under a different label as it drove people broke. But, whatever it was, I am sure it lasted the people a few more years than a computer telling its user, “It’s been two years. Replace me.”

You know what piece of technology hasn’t changed much since the dawn of time? Mankind. We may have lost some hair and body mass (ha). We may have learned to stand up straighter and use different words now and then. We may have changed the way we eat our food, dress and clean ourselves. We probably earned a longer life expectancy from working less and sitting on those asses people have been pointing and shaking their heads at, lately. But, we can be just as dumb as our ancestors.

How dumb are we? Well, we’re so dumb that we will slap anything on our skin or trust another human being to make us look young, “pretty” or “handsome.” We’re so dumb that we take pills as directed by other humans only to suffer side-effects we should have seen coming (but we didn’t…because we’re so dumb). We’re so dumb that we will burn a plant in our mouths or wash one down our throats to fight stress only to risk the lives of others around us and put that stress on our bodily organs, anyway. We’re so dumb that we move just like cattle as we chase the latest things because the ones someone stopped making last summer are now obsolete.

Can you replace your grandparents or siblings so easily? I think not. No matter what insurance policy you buy, pill you take or defense system you install, you don’t have a lifetime warranty or even a two-year warranty. Your number could be up tomorrow. [That’s another fairly old piece of lingo, by the way. Your number being up. For those of you born after the cellphone, it means “you could die.”]

So, the next time you think about buying some new gadget, trinket or Macintablet or reach for a fresh (or freshly charged) battery pack, remember what ol’ Writingbolt just told you. You can either drain your bank account (which was filled with your life force applied to that thing called work…of whatever kind you employ) every few years chasing stupidity. Or, you can wise up and rethink the way this world appears to be going. Buy something more reliable. And, invest in those around you who are worth more than any self-destructing wireless “life-distactor.”

Maybe it’s time we all slowed down to think instead of trying to be the one who throws him or herself into a wall the fastest. Yeah. That sounds dumb. Just give it time. I’m sure it’s out there on YouBoobTube, already. And, it’s getting a billion hits.

There was a time when hits were something your older brother…

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